Recently Kevin Price, Host of the nationally syndicated Price of Business Show, interviewed John D. O’Connor.
In every discussion of morality, context is all-important. Did a country fire on a neighbor out of aggression or out of self-defense?
During the George Floyd inspired riots of the summer of 2020, the defenders of those destructive episodes constantly reminded us that they were “mostly peaceful”. So, whether we agree with that assessment or not, it is the case that context is highly dispositive of the morality of actions.
Accordingly, when partisan political players, mostly Democrats, but including as well Republicans like Mitt Romney, criticize Tucker Carlson for showing clips of the January 6 fiasco not previously aired, how can anyone disagree with a presentation that attempts to put the oft-repeated reels, of violence at one tunnel entrance, into context? Put differently, when these new clips, showing peaceful, respectful conduct by the intruders, are shown together with the more violent clips of other protesters, previously fed to the public by the Committee ad nauseam, we must ask whether they show an “insurrection”, or a peaceful protest where some protesters were, unlike most, inclined towards violence.
The criticism of Carlson is nothing more than a criticism of the First Amendment. Should not members of the public be informed of our country’s most important events? That the House would stack the committee with members who only subscribe to one view of January 6, speaks volumes about the intent of the Committee to present a biased, one-sided narrative. In my world, it is unthinkable that one side can come into Court without an opposing lawyer. How fair is it that the January 6 Committee deliberately kept off its membership anyone who might look at January 6 events with critical intelligence and come to a contrary view? Yet the essence of democracy is to present conflicting views for the jury of public opinion. The House violated that strong principle of Western notions of fairness when it placed on the Committee only the few Republican members with pre-ordained views, which just happened to coincide with those of the Democratic majority.
So the question is raised: were the incursions of January 6, loathsome as they may be at the particular tunnel entrance, all directed toward an election most felt was unfair, thus truly “anti-democratic”? Or were they, however awkwardly and stupidly carried out, in fact messily democratic in intent? And another question: if most of the protesters did not try to enter the Capitol, and those who did were mostly peaceful and respectful, do we really condemn this event as an “insurrection”, which seeks the abnegation of governmental authority? Or, on the whole and in context, was this simply an exercise in democracy where some have crossed the line, as they did, and are deserving of punishment? But where most were peaceful, and seeking, under the First Amendment to the Constitution, a petition to the government of perceived grievances, can we truly call this an insurrection?
The civil rights and anti-Vietnam protests of the late Sixties and early Seventies sometimes got out of hand, but did anyone call these protests “insurrections”? Let’s all use common sense, experience, and look to context.
And, more seriously, can we trust a media which goes out of its way to cast the summer, 2020, riots as “peaceful”, but defaults readily to the trope than January 6 was an “insurrection”? What is truly under examination is our country’s media, not “ MAGA” adherents.